Month: August 2003

Excerpt from

As I climbed over the mountains, losing valuable air speed and almost losing directional control, I called the tower at Lae and informed them that I was coming in for an emergency landing?

After clearing the power lines, I decided to push the nose down and force the plane onto the muddy field with my brakes locked. I figured that would cause my nose gear to collapse, and help me stop before going into the ocean. When I hit the ground, the plane slid sideways at a high speed, then leaped back into the air. I pushed it back on the wet ground again, with the brakes still locked, dirt and mud flying everywhere.

My priority shifted quickly from trying to save the plane to surviving without going into the ocean! Having been raised in west Texas, where water was always scarce, I didn’t know how to swim and was determined to stop the plane before it hit the water.

The plane began to skid and swerve toward the tower as I tried to hold it straight, and when I reached the end of the runway with mud and dirt still flying, I released one brake and let the plane spin around until it stopped just short of the ocean. The Australians in the tower later told me that when the plane veered toward them they were about ready to bail out of the tower and run for safety.

When the propeller on the dead engine stopped turning, I realized what had happened ? the tank with the inoperative fuel gauge had run out of gas! Flying with one dead engine and a prop that had not been feathered had forced me to fly at a high rate of speed in order to keep control.

That day, flying over the jungles of New Guinea, I broke every rule of self-preservation in landing the plan with one engine out. But God had preserved me anyway!

I sat in the cockpit, as the dust settled, and thanked the Lord for his care. I was still sitting there when the Australians drove up in their Jeep. I climbed down out of the plane and immediately realized just how much care God had given. Under the wings were the bombs I had forgotten to jettison! Had I been successful in collapsing the gear, the plane would have been blown to bits! That was an amazing and miraculous rescue from disaster. God was there.

NAMB missionaries have ties to Texas

ALPHARETTA, Ga. ? Three missionary couples with ties to Texas have been appointed by the North American Mission Board.

J. Eric and Wendy Boykin serve in Frederick, Md., where Eric Boykin is a church planter intern and pastor.

Boykin, a Texas native, is a graduate of Wesley College in Florence, Miss., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously was pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Greenville, Texas, and has earlier experience as a church planter and pastor in Magee, Mendenhall, Milledgeville, and Pinola, Miss.

Wendy Boykin, a Georgia native, holds an associate degree from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. She previously has worked as a kennel owner, childcare worker and typesetter. She also has served churches in Texas and Mississippi as worship leader.

The Boykins have three children: Zachary, 10; Stephen, 10; and Emili, 7.

Robert M. and Jennifer L. Griner serve in New York City, where both work on the staff of the New Hope New York Strategic Focus Cities outreach effort. Robert is communications director, while Jennifer Griner is a staff associate.

Griner, who grew up in Washington, Ga., is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously has served as a collegiate and 20s minister for North Richland Hills Baptist church in Fort Worth, and has eight years previous experience in public relations.

Jennifer Griner, who grew up in Mesquite, Texas, is a graduate of Brownwood (t1:State>Texas) University and Dallas Baptist University, where she received a master’s degree in counseling.

Dustin and Julie Wagley serve in Breckenridge, Colo., where Dustin Wagley is a resort missionary ministering through the planting of house churches and other outreach efforts. They were appointed under the US/C-2 program, in which young adults complete two years of missions service in the United States or Canada.

Wagley, a Texas native, is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark

Ruben Hernandez steps down

IRVING, Texas ? Ruben Hernandez announced his resignation July 15 as director of missions and evangelism for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention to seek “the Lord’s direction” for other ministry opportunities.

During the convention’s first four years, SBTC has supported nearly 200 new church starts, begun a youth evangelism conference that has grown to over 2,000 in attendance, conducted yearly statewide evangelism conferences with over 1,200 participants, expanded the conference into regional meetings with youth and children’s rallies, and opened U.S. and international partnerships with the SBC mission boards.

“Ruben provided invaluable ministry in the early days of the SBTC and was no doubt God’s man for the hour,” stated SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards. When Hernandez began his ministry with SBTC in the fall of 1999, he was the second full-time ministry staff member of the new convention. Hernandez previously served as a vocational evangelist for 25 years and pastored for five years.

“He is a faithful family man and a constant soul-winner,” Richards added. “It has been my privilege more than once to listen to him witness to a person on an airplane or in a restaurant and see the person pray to receive Christ. He does not just talk evangelism, he does it,” Richards continued. “Only eternity will reveal the contribution Ruben has made to the Kingdom.”

He added that the recent renaming of the annual evangelism conference as the Empower Conference provides an opportunity to expand SBTC’s evangelism ministry.

“The Empower Conference is not just another meeting denominational people ask you to support. It is an inspirational, equipping tool that will set the tone for everything we will be doing in evangelism.”

During the interim period, Richards has asked former staff member Ronnie Yarber of Athens to assist SBTC in the area of evangelism. Yarber received SBTC’s W.A. Criswell Lifetime Achievement Award for Pastoral Evangelism in 2002. “Ronnie’s heart for evangelism has been proven over a long and fruitful ministry,” Richards said.

“People and circumstances change all the time, but Jesus never changes,” Richards concluded, citing Hebrews 13:8. “Keep talking about Jesus.”

Texan chronicles miracles of God in new book

SAN ANTONIO — “Whatever it Takes: The Amazing Adventures of God’s Work Around the World,” published by Broadman & Holman in 2003, is the chronicle of a life-time worth of miracles for one man of faith while laboring to see the gospel of Jesus Christ span the globe. The book is the story of a man marked by God for great things for the kingdom’s sake.

The journey begins in WWII where author and SBTC consultant for partnership missions W.H. “Dub” Jackson served with the Forty-ninth Fighter Group flying P-38 fighter planes. It was during Jackson’s years in military service that his eyes would be opened to the physical, emotional and spiritual post-war needs of the Japanese. The book opens with the exciting tale of an emergency crash landing in a P-38 deep in the heart of New Guinea in which Jackson recounts the miracle of God’s protection.

“I never cease to give thanks to God for his constant care. Clearly on this flight and every flight in World War II, I firmly believe that he preserved my life for the missionary service he later called us to,” Jackson wrote in the opening chapter. “I could not have imagined all of the spiritual joys, battles and victories he was going to give to us in our missionary service and witness to the Japanese who were so aggressively seeking to destroy us.”

Beyond God’s protection during flight maneuvers on the front lines of battle, Jackson recounts God’s saving grace in his life as time in Japan prepared him for missionary service with his wife, Doris. It is within the setting of WWII bomb raids and the U.S. occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1946 that God would instill in this Texas-born fighter pilot a dream of partnership evangelism for which he is now well-known.

In the aftermath of the war, Jackson quickly discovered the need for missionaries to enter the county to present the Japanese with new hope. When few missionaries were to be found, Jackson enlisted the help of non-missionary personnel and a seed was planted for partnership missions.

“…Japan was in ruins, but Japanese hearts were open to the gospel and hungry for a message of hope. When the emperor surrendered, the Japanese had to acknowledge that he was not divine. The morale of the country was zero. They had lost not only the war but also their hope for the future.”

On off-hours, Jackson organized evangelistic meetings and campaigns to help missionaries serving in Japan. He entered Japanese schools and shared his testimony and played his trumpet for students. He also gathered food, clothing and blankets to starving Japanese communities – all at the age of 21.

“Thank the Lord, today we can be introduced to world needs through Partnership Evangelism instead of through war!”

Miracles of God’s protection and provision are woven into the fabric of the story of the Jacksons’ attempts to further the gospel around the world. In beginning new churches, to providing help and financial resources to bring people to Christ, God’s hand is unmistakably attributed to the success of the couple. In chapter three, Jackson recounts a time in 1950, while pastoring in Mineral Wells and attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, when a need presented itself to return to Japan for short-term mission work. Feeling burdened to respond to such a need, Jackson resigned from the pastorate and bought a one-way ticket to Japan trusting in God to provide the money while overseas to purchase a ticket back home.

The miracles of God continued in the ministry of the Jacksons as the couple experienced a call to full-time mission work and planted Asahigawa Baptist Church in Hokkaido, Japan. A fund for a city-wide evangelistic crusade found an investor in retired missionary to China resulting in 350 decisions for Christ. Those who made professions of faith were baptized in a river during heavy snow falls and cold rain. Jackson recounts: “Baptismal candidates, for lack of changing facilities, were forced to wear their wet clothing for over an hour after the service before we could get them to a place to change.”

The need for a place to worship and baptize was later provided by the Jackson’s themselves as nearly a hundred church members met in the couple’s living room and then were baptized in a wooden barrel in their one-car garage. It was during the times of cold and cramped worship meetings, that the Jacksons employed the phrase “Whatever it Takes,” a motto that would follow them 50 years into their ministry of reaching the lost.

The book also recounts the origination, preparation and miracles of the 1963 New Life Movement, a “massive evangelistic campaign,” beginning in Tokyo that eventually reached all of Asia with the name of Jesus. The NLM began as a dream of Jackson and was the largest step toward partnership evangelism. In the time span of six weeks, over 45,000 people made professions of faith.  Baptist leaders such as T.A. Patterson, Ramsey Pollard, Owen White, Herschel Hobbs, and Baker James Cauthen, Billy Graham, and Wade Freeman preached and supported the event.

After the success of NLM, Jackson began to enlist the support of state-side churches in adopting international congregations and sending church members on short-term mission trips.  The Jacksons’ pioneering work continued as they returned to Texas from the mission field and presented their idea of partnership missions to top SBC officials and former International Mission Board President Keith Parks.  The quest for promotional and financial support for partnership missions was a long road riddled with many obstacles including rejection from the IMB.  However, the Jackson’s continued enlisting the support of SBC churches until “20 years after its inception.  Partnership Evangelism was adopted” by the IMB in 1981.

The victories of partnership evangelism find their origin in the Jackson’s abandonment to “God’s plan to win the world now.”  The story of this Texas Baptist begins as a layperson who witnesses the need for Christ in wr-torn countries.  The ending of the story reveals determined missionaries, renewed by God’s protection, begging others to see the lost through the eyes of Christ.

“Whatever it Takes:  The Amazing Adventures of God’s Work Around the World,” can be purchased at any local LifeWay Christian Bookstore.


Criswell alum baptizes 60 in Iraqi waters

IRAQ?As a student at The Criswell College, Brian Waite received the same mandate every other student is given. “Everyone must hear the gospel, and we must do all that is within our power to be the bearers of this wonderful good news,” Waite said. He carried that zeal for evangelism to the churches he pastored in Tioga, Celina and DeSoto. It was a part of his reason for enlisting in the Navy as a chaplain, serving in Okinawa, Japan and later Groton, Conn.

In 2002 Waite was pastoring one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma when the Navy contacted him to see if he would consider returning to active duty.

“After much prayer and consideration, my family and I felt strongly convicted that this would be where God would have us at this time in our life,” Waite told. He said he felt extremely honored to be asked to return even though it meant a pay cut and change of lifestyle from the position he held at the 3,600-member Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

Waite returned to active duty with the 2nd Marine “Division in Camp Lejeune, N.C., assigned as the command chaplain for the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion. Last November he became deputy division chaplain for the entire camp, serving about 17,000 marines and sailors.

By February of this year, Waite was tapped by the general’s staff to replace a returning chaplain. Just as the unit was preparing for combat, Waite flew to Kuwait to join the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, a unit that would see some of the heaviest fighting in the entire Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Regimental Combat Team Two suffered over 80 casualties, and 22 of the soldiers died from wounds suffered.

Waite expressed amazement at the great freedom he has been given to move between units at will and share the gospel with all who would listen. The arduous living conditions and constant threat of conflict often motivate a greater openness to the message Waite delivers. Over 60 soldiers accepted Christ as Savior within a four-month period, he said.

On Easter Sunday the Criswell College alumnus baptized 60 service members in the Tigris River in Iraq. “We were still in the midst of hostilities,” Waite recalled. “having to flank both sides of our position in the river with gun trucks and armed guards.” Despite their efforts to keep a low profile during the baptismal service, a combat correspondent heard about the event and appeared on the scene.

“He was so intrigued by the numbers and the spirit of the individuals involved that he asked,”‘What does it mean to be baptized?'” The journalist’s interest reminded Waite of the Ethiopian eunuch’s questioning of Philip. “I had the great opportunity to preach to him Jesus,” he added. “Before it was all said and done, he was our sixty-first baptism.”

Waite speculates that these were probably the first Christian baptisms?at least of this size and magnitude?within the past several centuries or even longer. To add to his excitement, new converts are being discipled. Waite offers daily Bible studies and individual counseling sessions. A class was offered prior to baptism for those who made professions of faith. Waite said he turned 20 people away who did not seem ready to make such a commitment. Upon their return to the United States, new believers will be integrated into local Bible-believing churches, Waite said, in order to have a spiritual support system beyond their military unit.

“I live with these people 24/7. Their bosses let me walk into their workspaces as a fellow employee. I have free reign,” Waite explained. “In fact, it is not uncommon for an entire work section to ask me to come and speak with them concerning a specific concern or moral dilemma. Most military officers have come to the conclusion that the more connected their service members are with God, the better marine or sailor they will become.”

The opportunity to reach “those who are at an even greater risk of losing their lives and meeting their maker” had a lot to do with Waite’s willingness to return to military duty. Recently he prepared a plaque to honor the 154 service men and women who gave their lives over a four-month period.

Now that Waite has boarded a ship for the return trip home, email communications provides constant communication for him and his wife and their two sons, ages 14 and 11. The eldest is considering enlisting when he finishes high school. “Maybe this is w</SPAN

Crossover Arizona Diary

Arizona is a religious melting pot. Roman Catholics comprise the largest group in the state, followed by Mormons and then a host of Protestant denominations, including Southern Baptists. Native American religions are also prevalent (there are nineteen Indian reservations in Arizona) and Sedona is a haven for New Age mystics.

Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, served as the host of this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. As in the past, The Criswell College, Dallas, sent a student mission team to evangelize the region. The students and I shared the gospel with street people, church members, Jews, Satanists, skeptics, homosexuals, cult members, and hundreds of other lost souls. Here are a few highlights of the trip.

June 11-14

We attended an Interfaith Evangelism-sponsored seminar in Tempe, where we learned how to share the gospel with Mormons, Scientologists and others trapped in cults. Two events are memorable. The first took place on Friday. We visited a Mormon Stake, which is a church building that houses several Mormon congregations. We were given a guided tour and met with Mormon elders, Stake and Mission Presidents and “sisters” (female missionaries) for a Q/A session. Several of our students shared the gospel and gave their testimonies. Albert Ruiz placed gospel tracts between the pages of library books and in nooks and crannies throughout the facility. Pray that God will lead the right people to find these and discover new life in Christ.

Second, we discovered that a Vampire convention was clandestinely being held in the same hotel as ours. One of the Interfaith conferees was able to speak to several vampires, known as Tin Hairs, about the blood of Christ.

June 15-19

We conducted an aggressive personal evangelism campaign to reach as many people as possible with the gospel. On Saturday, we attended a block party sponsored by Wellspring Baptist Church and used face-painting, balloons, gospel magic, tract distribution, and the EvangeCube to spread the good news. Todd and Sharon Palmer stood in the blazing 111 degree heat to explain to Patti, a faltering Catholic, how Jesus died on the cross and rose again to forgive sin and offer her eternal life. As the Holy Spirit moved on her heart, she called out to the Savior and surrendered her life to his control. Todd presented her with a New Testament and gave her name to Pastor Kelly Carr for follow-up.

Lorraine Leach, Veronica Davis and Albert were also successful in leading three others to Christ.

After church on Sunday, where we preached in two services and worked with the youth, we headed to the SBC convention at Civic Plaza. There we spent four afternoons witnessing to maintenance personnel, ushers, security guards, concession stand workers, protesters, indigents, news media, policemen, and tourists. The experience was a real eye-opener for our students. They were met with various reactions. For example, a parking lot attendant, after being handed a tract, threw it back in the student’s face. Others gladly received the message, and some even wanted tracts to pass out themselves.

On Monday, Wellspring Baptist launched its summer VBS. Our students set up equipment, coordinated recreation activities, helped with crafts, taught lessons, and prayed. After lunch, they headed downtown to witness in and around Civic Plaza. As LaDawn Brock and Gina Dower prayed, Lorraine shared the gospel with Bernice who was ready to commit her life to Christ, when suddenly her boss came over and interrupted the discussion. The next day, Lorraine tracked her down, but Bernice said she wanted to wait. Lorraine then teamed up with Veronica to lead a female security guard to Christ. On the last day of the VBS, Veronica, our balloon evangelist, gave a creative gospel presentation to the entire group of kids. Seven indicated a desire to give their lives to Christ by lifting their hands at invitation time.

Throughout the week, we had many positive contacts. Jeremy Hardy, Faridd Sierra, Albert Ruiz, and Scott Gray visited a mission called Cas